It can be a minefield when it comes to choosing an IT support company. To make it a little easier and some points you should look out for, have a look at our top 10 tips:
2Location, Location, Location
5Trust & Security
What does the company offer as a service? Do they just carry out reactive repairs and maintenance or do they proactively look after your computers, server and network? Many companies claim to offer “full IT Support”, but it often turns out that they are just PC repairers. Posilan offer a complete IT service from network design to outsourced IT helpdesk for your company. In essence, to our contract customers, Posilan are their IT department for all staff to use when needed.
2 Location, Location, Location
In the main, you are going to need an IT support company that is either local, or can get to you within a reasonable time as set out by the contract SLA. Whilst it might seem to be a good idea to sign up with a company hundreds of miles away because they claim to be able to help you by telephone or remote support, that will offer little comfort if your server falls over and they can’t get to you for three or four hours.
Posilan offer contract support to areas we can efficiently get to within a reasonable time so the client really does know we will be there quickly if we need to. The main areas we offer contract support are Manchester, Cheshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, North Wales, Merseyside, Derbyshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. In general, places we can get to within roughly a 1-2 hour window. We can offer contract support outside these areas, but we would have to specify special SLA’s. We do however carry ad-hoc & remote support work nationwide.
Is the IT support company selling you what you need, or what they know? There are a lot of different technologies and operating systems available. The main two systems for networks and servers are Linux based and Microsoft Windows based. Each of these platforms have their own individual plus and minus points. Many IT support companies will specialise in one or the other and effectively dissuade you from the other.At Posilan we are specialists in both so we can truly bring you the benefits of both – either individually or as a combined solution.
How contactable are your IT support company? Does the phone always go to answer phone? Do emails get replied to? Do they keep you up to date with what is happening within the business? It’s amazing the number of companies who don’t update their website or have it “under construction” for years. What’s the point in having company twitter or Facebook pages and not updating them for months or filled with irrelevant information?
At Posilan we love to hear from our customers so we make it simple. We can be contacted by email (which opens a ticket on the system) and reply to really quickly, by telephone, via live chat on the website. We can also be contacted via social networking such as Twitter and Facebook. We are based in Manchester here in the UK so your call won’t end up in a foreign call centre.
5 Trust & Security
Your IT Support company generally has complete access to your company network and confidential files. You need to be able to trust the company is looking after them and keeping them secure.
At Posilan, our servers and networks are built upon security and protection. It’s never an afterthought. From protecting your servers and network with firewalls and patching software when necessary to our own VPN WAN ensures when we connect to your servers, it’s in a safe and secure way. For complete peace of mind, all staff are also CRB checked.
6 Support staff
As a client, are you able to build up a relationship with the staff at the support company? Or do you get through to a different person each time? Is there a high staff turnover?
At Posilan we like to get to know our clients. Everyone is different and everyone (even us!) have their own “quirky” ways of how they like things doing. We understand this – what’s right for one client may not be for another. We fully document and personalise the way we do this for the benefit of the client – you shouldnt need to have to explain things from scratch each time you call, and we try to make sure you don’t.
Buying IT equipment and software can be a minefield. Does your IT support company have trade agreements in place with software and hardware vendors or do they just buy from the same places you can and add a markup?
At Posilan we have formed partnerships with many major hardware and software vendors and have direct accounts with the two largest IT distributors in the UK – that way we get the latest updates at the best prices and the best service and pass those benefits straight onto you. From a new computer mouse to server hardware and complex volume licensing – we can help and advise you.
There’s little point in having the latest computers and servers if your network underperforms. At Posilan we are network and server specialists and design clients networks with speed and reliability in mind. We are Windows and Linux specialists so can offer you truly independent advice of what would be best for you. We can help with not only the network in your main premises, but for home workers and branch offices to be able to seamlessly connect securely as though they were sitting in the same room.
9 Contingency planning
We all hate to thing about “what if?” but just for one moment think “What would happen if there was a fire?” or a flood or theft? Could your business survive for a day without its server? What about two days? A week? Yes, you may have backups but how long will it take to get new hardware installed and the backup restored? You may be looking at several days before you are up and running.
At Posilan we have the knowledge and experience in backups and designing disaster recovery or high availability servers for your business. We can embrace virtualization technologies to ensure we get you up and running in the shortest time possible – this could be as little as 2-3 hours after complete loss of hardware. Think how much 2-3 days would cost your business if it was closed due to IT problems then think how much better 2-3 hours is.
Are you choosing your IT support company based on cost? Don’t. Instead select based on ability then look at price. There’s little point in choosing a company that costs little but is incompetent, but on the other hand it’s easy to pay too much.
At Posilan we never aim to be the cheapest. The simple reason for this is that we could not offer the level of service we do if we were. cheap PC repair companies are “10 a penny” but will they be there when you need them? We are however excellent value for money and chances are that by using us as your IT support company, we could probably save you money over the years.